This panel explores the relationships between photographic portraiture and political belonging, with special attention to the range of methodological approaches that can be deployed to explore this connection.
This panel explores the relationships between photographic portraiture and political belonging. How do photographic practices interact with political identity? What is the relationship between photographic representation and the public sphere? Can photography be used to leverage political rights and recognition and if so, how? Might photographic representation stand in for political belonging in the absence of the state? How can the artistic potential of photography be translated into political as well as civil concerns? These questions will be addressed through a range of papers that examine photographic production as well as reception, paying special attention to modes of public and private exhibition and display. The panel is meant not only to reflect on the relationship between photography and political belonging though case-studies chosen from across the world, but also to explore the value of various methodological approaches to this question. What perspectives are brought to the debate by different disciplinary groundings such as art history, anthropology, sociology, and even political science? How can qualitative and quantitative data be productively combined? What is the value of bringing together techniques such as interviews, participant observation, surveys, and the close formal reading of artworks, and how can such diverse methodologies be most successfully brought to bear on the relationship between politics, civil society, and photographic portraiture?